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“This is a great victory. It was quite a hard stage, but of course I knew the finish. Working together with Bardet, who went for the win in the GC, went well," Poels says

Photo: Vacansoleil-DCM

TOUR DE L'AIN

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13.08.2013 @ 22:43 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Today Wout Poels took his first win since his dramatic crash at the 2012 Tour de France when he joined forces with Romain Bardet (Ag2r) to ride away from their rivals in the queen stage of the Tour de l'Ain. Having now finally showed that he can return to the top level, Poels now looks forward to taking more big results in the weeks to come.

 

When Wout Poels crashed at the 2012 Tour de France and was left with a ruptured kidney and spleen, a bruised lung and three broken ribs, his career was in danger. Few would have expected the young Dutchman to be back to his winning ways just 13 months later.

 

Poels has, however, defied expectations and today he took his first win since that dramatic crash. Having joined the day's early break on the queen stage of the Tour de l'Ain, he was the only one to survive when the race favourites started to attack from behind and ultimately he was the only rider to keep up with Romain Bardet.

 

Those two formed perfect combination as Bardet had a good chance of taking the overall win, could he keep the chasing group containing 2nd-placed Luis-Leon Sanchez at bay. Poels was only looking for one thing: his first win since his career-threatening crash.

 

The duo combined forces and both were justly rewarded for their efforts. Poels got his long-awaited win while Bardet underlined his potential as a future climber by clinching the overall victory.

 

To make things even more symbolic, Poels' first professional win was taken in this region in the final stage of the 2010 Tour de l'Ain. Being included in Vacansoleil's pre-selection for the Vuelta, he is now confident ahead of the bigger races to come.

 

“This is a great victory. It was quite a hard stage, but of course I knew the finish", he said with a smile. “Working together with Bardet, who went for the win in the GC, went well. I’m glad to have been able to pull this off. It’s a boost of confidence for the weeks to come!”

 

Sports director Michel Cornellisse was full of praise of his young rider.

 

“Wout simply was the strongest rider in the race today," he said. "In the final there was just the two of them in the front, being chased by a foursome including John Gadret and Luis Leon Sanchez. They didn’t manage to come closer than half a minute. That says enough.”

 

The team had already taken a win with Grega Bole on stage 2 and so the 5-day race ended as a huge success for the Dutch team whose future is in danger due to a lack of sponsorship.

 

“We came for the GC with Wout Poels," he said The entire team did a great job this week, and Martijn Keizer also managed to show himself in the breakaway. Wout eventually finishes nicely in the top 10 and, just like Grega, he can return home with a nice victory added to his track record.”

 

Poels finished the race 8th overall.

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